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Title: Choice-based secondary school admissions in England : social stratification and the distribution of educational outcomes
Author: Allen, Rebecca
ISNI:       0000 0004 2696 2953
Awarding Body: Institute of Education, University of London
Current Institution: UCL Institute of Education (IOE)
Date of Award: 2008
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This thesis uses the cohort of 2005 school-leavers in the National Pupil Database to present an economic analysis of the effects of secondary school admissions in England on pupil sorting and achievement. The first part of the thesis exploits the availability of pupil postcodes to examine the impact of current school admissions arrangements on residential and school stratification. It produces data from a thought experiment whereby pupils currently in schools are reallocated to a new school based strictly on proximity to school. Through this simulation the role of the housing market in producing socially stratified schooling can be identified. A survey of school admissions policies is used to show that religious (and to a lesser extent Foundation) schools have intakes that are signifcantly more advantaged than their local neighbourhood, and that they achieve these intakes through the use of explicit potentially selective admissions criteria. The second part of the thesis adds to evidence on whether policies intended to increase parental choice raise pupil achievement via competition between schools. Quantitative evidence on school competition in England is evaluated alongside the existing international literature. A regression discontinuity design is employed to examine the legacy effects of the Grant-Maintained schools policy on area-wide educational outcomes at age 16. Pupil fixed-effects test score growth models and historical instrumental variables are used to identify the causal impact of religious schools on their neighbouring schools. This econometric analysis fails to lend support to claims that encouraging schools to compete for pupils is a route to improving standards. The thesis concludes that the current English secondary school arrangements have resulted in a system that is stratified and inequitable, without measurable efficiency gains induced by competition between schools for pupils.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Quantitative Social Science